Okay, so just a little thought experiment to get you clever and creative folks discussing...
Morpheus sits you down and places a small green pill in front of you saying how it will instantly and painlessly 'cure' you of your autism, giving you the neurotypicality you would've had from birth, had things been different.
Do you take the pill?
This is all fascinating. So, thank you.
Being only one year post-diagnosis, it's something I'm still coming to terms with. After all, autism wasn't even on my radar before!
I've read so many things on this forum, and indeed, as per your replies to this post, you all seem to perceive autism as a 'good' thing - you've all somehow managed to integrate it as a valued part of your psyche. This is also something various counsellors and professionals have told me, that I'm seeing it (like so many other things) as a negative (my argument would be that I've just spent the better part of four decades being conditioned by Neurotypical propaganda, being trained to unquestionably consider such things as 'defects', so it's gonna take a while).
But, when I compare my life to my Neurotypical peers, I still can't but help think that yes, I would take the pill to 'cure' me. I'd love to fit into their world - to function within the established norm. My apologies if that makes me a traitor to the cause.
Of course, seeing how you guys and gals have come to regard it as something precious and good, it makes me ask how you did that, and how long it took to get to that point? Care to provide any tips on how best to come to terms with autism, and 'own' it?
Hi Evan, you most certainly are not a traitor and any way you feel is valid, many of us have spent a life time of being told we were wrong, so there are no wrong feelings here.
I am too still coming to terms with the diagnosis (I got my diagnosis at the end of October last year, and it was not on the radar prior to my realisation in May 2016). If you look back over the last thread (kindly posted by DC), I said then that I would consider a cure when I’m having a bad day or something.
However, my answer has changed since then. The way I see it now, is that the only time I have a problem with me or my autism, is when I compare myself to nt’s and want to somehow achieve what I perceive them to be achieving, when in actual fact, I almost despise their way of life and the way they think so why on earth would I continue on this self defeating trail of comparing myself against them. It’s like comparing apples and lemons. I realised that I’ve been fencing myself in through my ideas of what their lives are like and the insane idea that I need to somehow be like them.
By coming on here and learning more about myself and autism and by mixing with other autistic people at my weekly group, I am slowly gaining confidence to be myself and live my life my way on my terms. This is a process as I’ve spent most of my life trying to be somebody I didn’t even want to be so I’m allowing myself time to find out who I am. I guess you could say, I’m dating me, getting to know me and integrating some fun into my life. For example, I’m organising a trip out ice skating for those of us who want to go from my group. I’m learning to live my life as me and I have zero tolerance for anything less. I don’t know what my life is going to look like, how could I, this is just the start of my magical journey but I’m starting to listen within and begin to create my life on my terms.
I have not denied my feelings of anger at my diagnosis not getting picked up sooner and all that that entails. I allowed myself to feel those feelings, unconditionally and to sink into them and simply allow them to be, without judgement. By allowing them to be, they passed through me in their own time and in their own way. What we resist, persists. When we let things be, they pass by. Allowing the feelings to be, without judgement, I found that I seemed to process them as well. Not necessarily cognitively, although sometimes I did, but other times I just had a sense of knowing that that anger or whatever has been processed, I’m no longer holding on to it and it’s left me. Often times those feelings of hurt and anger are simply moments of hurt and anger we experienced as children, playing themselves out over and over again. Sometimes we have no idea what they’re about but if we allow them to be, they will pass through us and out of us.
Give yourself time, you can’t rush it.
I only received my diagnosis about a month ago, so compared with many people on here I'm still learning what that means.
I, like many it appears, have spent my whole life feeling 'different', 'odd', weird' or 'broken' re. how I think, feel and experience the world - especially the people in it and their social interactions.
In addition to that I've had lifelong, random, gastro-intestinal symptoms that have never quite fitted any definite diagnosis or explanation or cure.
I spent most of my life believing I had intermittent anger-management issues but was never able to reconcile the fact that at other times I was often the only person in an aggressive situation that WAS able to calmly and rationally dissipate a situation - was I deliberately choosing to be an ass at other times?
In my teens I was diagnoses with PCOS. I've had lifelong sleep difficulties. I don't have a single 'friend' and this has never bothered me one bit but I still spent my life thinking those two facts combined made me 'wrong'.
Then, due to an inexplicable exhaustion that seems to have taken over my whole being for the past couple of years, I was diagnosed with ME. I never quite felt that diagnosis really 'fitted' (mainly because I could remember shorter periods of time in my younger years where I felt like this) and began to question it last year.
While explaining to my GP why I didn't agree with the ME diagnosis, she concluded I had depression - which I KNEW I did not! I had frustration at the mounting list of things I was being diagnosed with, anger at not being properly listened to, worry that I must be going mad because surely GP's know what they're doing, right? (Hmmm, not so much apparently.) But I knew I was not depressed and seriously doubted I had ME either.
Anyway, cutting a long story short (and skimming over various other quirks etc.) I was diagnosed with HFA in January and I feel REALLY good about it! Finally, ONE answer for ALL of the above that actually DOES tick all of the boxes and doesn't tell me things about myself that don't 'fit' - such as 'You are depressed.".
For me, HFA means I'm not 'broken', 'weird', 'hypochondriac', 'part-time IBS', 'intermittent ME', 'lazy-night-owl', 'part-time anger management issues', or the many other ill-fitting labels I've had over the years. I can welcome this 'label' because it feels like me!
It's like having worn only second-hand shoes my whole life, moulded to fit a stranger but never quite comfortable for me, and now for the first time having a pair that have been custom-made for me! These HFA shoes fit all of my lumps and bumps instead of chaffing against them. They're not perfect, I wouldn't have chosen this colour (ie. the fact that HFA is considered a disability) but once I get used to the colour and buy some clothes to match (learn more about the diagnosis and how to work with it instead of against it) i'm looking forward to walking through the rest of my life much more comfortably (and feeling comfortable with who I am for a change). Also, these are MY HFA shoes, so they / it are what I choose to make them - disability or opportunity.
Sorry if the shoe analogy is weird, I'm more comfortable describing emotions as concrete things - and I like that about myself :) Anyway, I guess the answer to your question IS your question, 'own' it. Find your place on the spectrum and get comfortable there. Not all of the 'signs and symptoms' are meant to fit everybody all of the time. (I hope this ramble contains something useful.)